A Small NYC Apartment’s Dated Kitchen and Bathroom Got Renter-Friendly Refreshes
Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox
Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter
Name: Nicole Cueto and dog, Marty
Location: New York City, New York
Size: Approximately 600 square feet
Type of Home: One-bedroom apartment with a separate loft
Years lived in: 1 year, renting
Lawyer-turned-communications professional Nicole Cueto says her home is reflection of all the things she loves. “I’m inspired by so many things including my global travels, love of all things of the past, and my Hispanic heritage,” says Nicole, who is a Director at Bevel PR and The Cuban Carrie on Instagram. Originally from Miami, with a stint living in D.C., she’s called New York City home for seven years, and has been renting this one-bedroom apartment for a year in New York’s West Village.
“I’ve lived in five apartments in NYC, so far, since I moved here seven years ago,” Nicole explains. “Each apartment has been special to me for its own reasons and I’ve decorated each one differently because I’m a firm believer in allowing the space to dictate how you decorate versus trying to fit already existing furniture and aesthetic into a new place. I typically always sell most of my stuff each time I move (with the exception of a few heirloom pieces) and find new furniture and accessories for each apartment. When I decorate, I tend to find one piece and design my aesthetic based on that. For example, for this apartment, I was inspired by my green velvet couch and a black and white pillow from H&M that had vintage French vibes.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Classic with a touch of eclectic
Inspiration: My global travels and times past (I love anything vintage)
Favorite Element: Two are my favorite things are my mantel and my neon sign that says “good times only.” I also really love my upstairs loft that I’ve turned into a huge open-floor dressing room and yoga area, as well as my mini balcony.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was that it was not perfect when I got it and I hated the floors and the kitchen. It felt outdated, but it was a rental so I didn’t want to dump too much money into it. So, I did what any wannabe interior designer did and got a few cans of paint, some wallpaper, some contact paper, and sticky tiles and went to work. I transformed the kitchen and bathroom to match my aesthetic with renter friendly options; I painted a few walls; swapped out all the light fixtures and painted the staircase white (from brown). Needless to say, it looks like a completely different apartment and people that have seen the before and after are so impressed… I happen to love it too!
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY would be my bathroom. I hung peel-n-stick wallpaper and put down sticky tiles, mounted a shelf and some other accessories, and transformed the bathroom. I did the same for the kitchen. It looks like a completely different space!
Biggest Indulgence: My embossed leather bar was my biggest indulgence. It was about $3,000 and it has been with me to every apartment I’ve lived in since my days in Miami. It was an investment but I love it. I make it fit my aesthetic no matter how I choose to decorate.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I use my “second bedroom” as an open closet, office, and yoga studio. My friends call it my boutique.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My favorite product is my mantel because its a statement piece and really anchors the room. I also love coffee table books — I think they say a lot about a person’s interests. Also, I love candles, and the ones I’m obsessed with the most are Lindsay Silberman’s “Hotel Lobby Candle” collection — her line is meant to give you that luxurious hotel feeling you get when you travel… right up my alley!
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I have a lot of stuff and I’m a firm believer in utilizing the most of your space. So, for example, I use my hat collection as a focal art point behind my bed. I also stack a lot of things (i.e. books, cups, etc) and use open shelving to display some of the things I regularly use.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My best advice is to let your everyday life inspire you. There are no right or wrong answers. Let your home reflect your personality. Use things you already have, or if you want to buy something new, make sure it’s not just there to collect dust. At least make sure it sparks joy when you look at it. Finally, filling your home with greenery is absolutely important — it makes a huge difference in your mental health and day-to-day happiness.
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form